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Disease & Conditions >>> Alzheimer's Articles & News

How Adult Day Care Can Help You Maintain Your Sanity While Caring For Your Loved One With Alzheimer’s Disease

By: William G. Hammond, Attorney at Law
Author of The Alzheimer's Legal Survival Guide and The Alzheimer's Resource Kit"

Adult Day Care provides comfort, support, care, companionship and counseling for elderly or Alzheimer’s patients who require supervision during daytime hours. It offers patients the opportunity to socialize and to receive health and social services in a stimulating and supportive environment.

When you have chosen your Day Care, make sure that their license is current and do not hesitate to ask questions. Among others,

• Ask to see results of their state inspections and if there were any deficiencies, ask if they have been corrected.

• Observe if the patients are involved in activities.

• Does the staff encourage the participants to be as independent as possible?

• Ask about the staff to client ratio. For Alzheimer’s patients, the ratio should be at least one staff member for every eight patients.

• Meet the director and the staff.

• Is there a lot of staff turnover?

• What are the emergency procedures?

• Do they serve meals and how are they prepared? Do they offer food for patients of special dietary needs?

• Is there a secure outdoor area sufficient for walking and spending time outside? It can be vital for an Alzheimer’s patient to spend time outdoors in order to have a good quality of life.

• What are the hours of operation?

• How do they handle participants who wander?

• How often must the participant attend and for how long?

• How involved can I be as a family member?

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Find out what the requirements for admission are. These may include a health history and a physical may be necessary with a current (within the last year) TB test or chest x-ray. Take time to sit with the director or staff and go through all the processes prior to attending the day care.

Of course, taking care of a loved one with Alzeimer’s can be very stressful and you may find yourself tired. Sometimes you need time away from your loved one to rejuvenate yourself. This will require making arrangements, which is where Adult Day Care comes in. This time off will allow you to invest some of your energy in your other relationships, to rest and recharge your physical and emotional batteries in order to maintain sanity and quality care for your loved one. Do the things you used to do before your loved one became ill. Have fun and enjoy yourself.

Your loved one will be in good hands and will get involved with other persons with Alzheimer's. They will be given the care they deserve and will enjoy a facility that caters to their needs and interests. You will find that your loved one looks forward to the day care to have fun, make friends (to the extent they are able), and will return home at the end of the day more relaxed.

Adult Day care may also help ease the way if one day you have to put your loved one in a nursing home. Some daycare centers are affiliated with nursing homes. The combination sometimes makes the transition into nursing home care much easier.

So, take time for yourself. You deserve it, and your loved one will notice your changes as well.

Copyright, 2000-2004 The Alzheimer's Resource Center, Inc. All rights reserved.


Editor's Note:

My good friend and Elder Law Attorney William Hammond founded The Elder & Disability Law Firm in 1996, as he puts it, "out of necessity." Hammond's mother-in-law fell and broke her hip the previous year and Bill and his wife Mary became her primary caregivers. The law firm grew out of his frustration in trying to track down the answers to legal questions that he was now facing on a daily basis. Bill decided that the answers to the questions he and his wife were facing needed to be more available to the public and so the firm was founded.

Today The Elder & Disability Law Firm serves clients all over the states of Kansas and Missouri. It's not unusual to have people drive in from several hours away to meet with the staff and attorneys of the firm and to get help with their most pressing elder law issues.

Almost from the first day that the firm opened its doors, the families who have a loved one with Alzheimer's have been flocking to the firm. Over and over again issues of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's have been raised. Over the years the attorneys and staff at the law firm have developed a real expertise in helping people suffering from memory loss. That in turn lead to the establishment of the Alzheimer's Resource Center.

The Alzheimer's Resource Center is dedicated to helping families throughout the U.S. understand better how to care for and plan for their loved one who has Alzheimer's Disease. The Resource Center is dedicated to helping families learn more about the disease and, more importantly, learn specific strategies that the families can use to reduce caregiver and Alzheimer's patient stress and keep the loved one at home as long as possible.

To this end the firm offers its Alzheimer's Survival Kit "the standard of information for the industry" as well as frequent Telecoaching Seminars teaching families the "hands-on" skills they need to learn to better care for their loved one.

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Copyright © 2004 Bob Cairns. All rights reserved.